Beware of Supreme Courts Bearing Gifts

The Washington state Supreme Court recently overturned the state's one percent annual cap on property tax increases, which voters approved in 2001. This looked like a ...
by | November 16, 2007

The Washington state Supreme Court recently overturned the state's one percent annual cap on property tax increases, which voters approved in 2001.

This looked like a policy victory for Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire. Most Democrats are mistrustful of tax limitations and Gregoire suggested last year that the one percent cap was too low.

The governor's response to the court: Thanks, but no thanks.

She's calling for legislation to reinstitute the cap. If local governments rush to raise property taxes, Gregoire says she'll call a special session to stop them.

The subtext here is that Gregoire is up for reelection next year and her opponent, Dino Rossi, was ready to pounce on the issue. Gregoire is part of a trend among Democratic politicians in state government. She's willing to advance many progressive causes, but more cautious on taxation issues -- especially 12 months from an election.

That may be a matter of political necessity, but some Washington Democrats think the governor is making lemons out of lemonade.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

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